follow up to conversation

One of the things clients often complain about is that after an engaged and seemingly positive discussion, nothing will happen. Sometimes they are describing a great meeting at work and sometimes they are describing a conversation with a spouse or kid. In all cases, they are baffled that they can participate in this great discussion that seems to have identified some clear next steps, and then leave it only to have nothing happen.

Here are 5 things you can do today to create a greater chance that the things discussed actually get done:

  1. Send out a note acknowledging and appreciating the discussion. People at work and home like to know you enjoyed and valued the process. If it’s your kids, that note may be a text, but it acknowledges the value of talking things through.
  2. In the note, identify the key things you discussed and the agreements that were made. Be specific about actions, timelines, and the person accountable.
  3. Put the timelines on your calendar and ask that they do the same. You can’t control this behavior, but you can ask.
  4. Check in a few days before an action is due to be completed. Remember, the check-in is both about creating accountability and sustaining a good relationship. Don’t just write, “Did you complete the report?” or “Is the tire fixed?” Instead, ask how things are progressing and if they need help.
  5. Comment again on your appreciation for the effort of all involved and that you would like to meet again on X date to confirm everything is done.

In some cases, the timeline will be pretty long, so there will need to be multiple check-ins. You may be responsible for the check-ins each time, but it could also be a colleague or a direct report (at home it could be a spouse or one of your kids).

Most people have a tendency to believe that once it’s been said it should get done. That may be true in some instances, but far more often there needs to be small but consistent follow-up that recognizes both the person and their commitment.

This week, track your conversations and see if they would benefit by providing some follow-up to ensure that the things you want to have happen actually get accomplished. Let us know how it goes.

See you next week,

– Your Coaches at Carpenter Smith Consulting

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